Friday, February 9, 2018

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA

Over the past two weeks I have experimented with making pizza crust from cauliflower. There are a number of recipes that you can find and they all use cauliflower that is processed to become riced. Some cook the riced cauliflower and squeeze the water out of it to become a pulp while others add the uncooked riced cauliflower to the rest of the ingredients to make the crust. The two recipes that I tried both used an egg and cheese in the crust batter. Both of these ingredients help hold the crust together. For pizza crust number one, I used a baking pan and for pizza crust number two, I used a pizza stone. 

Crust number one is made using cooked riced cauliflower that you drain in the colander, then squeeze the pulp in a dish towel and wring it out until all of the excess moisture is removed. It takes some work to wring and squeeze the water out.Two pounds of raw cauliflower ends up to be about 2 cups of dry pulp. This recipe includes an egg and soft goat cheese.

Crust number two uses riced cauliflower that doesn't require cooking. You still need to ensure that the riced cauliflower has excess moisture removed so I placed it between paper towels to remove any excess moisture. There wasn't really any moisture to remove. The recipe includes one pound of cauliflower, an egg, almond meal flour and Parmesan cheese. 

There is a two step process in baking the pizza. First you need to bake the crust and then you add the ingredients and bake it a second time but only for five to ten minutes. Because of the short cooking time for the second bake with the toppings, it is good to sauté whatever vegetables you are adding as toppings. For example, I sautéed the mushrooms and onions in advance. In pizza number two, I added spinach as a topping but didn't sauté it beforehand. In making both pizzas I used similar ingredients such as prosciutto, mushrooms and grated goat cheese. In the second pizza I used a caramelized onion flavour brick goat cheese and that is why the grated cheese has a light brown look. I didn't use any tomatoes or tomato sauce because the DH is staying away from nightshades. 

Both pizzas had a crust that held together and they were not soggy. I tried to make the crusts thin and crispy. Crust number one is from the detoxinsta.com site and crust number two is an epicurious recipe. Both pizza crusts work. In identifying which one I prefer I would choose crust number one. I think that crust holds together better and I found it less salty. A third of a cup soft goat cheese in crust number one has less salt than a cup of Parmesan cheese that was used in crust number two. Both pizzas had prosciutto in the toppings which is also salty. I will likely do more experimenting in the coming weeks on cauliflower pizza crust.


Cauliflower Crust #1

Crust out of the oven after baking for 35 minutes.

Out of the oven after baking the toppings.

Ready to sample.

Cauliflower Crust #2


Pizza dough spread out on parchment paper before placing it on a hot pizza stone.

Pizza crust after cooking for 25 minutes on a hot pizza stone.

Out of the oven after baking for almost 10 minutes with the toppings.

Ready to sample.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

CHICKEN STEW WITH COCONUT MILK

I decided to make a chicken stew for supper without using any nightshades (eg tomatoes, peppers or tomatoes) and no carrots. The DH is not eating nightshades and I wanted to keep the stew lower in carbs. It turned out fine, I likely should have added some curry powder but thought about it after it was made. I used chicken breasts but any cut of chicken could be used. I also used a full can of coconut milk and could have used half a can as the stew had a bit more liquid than what I wanted. But I didn't want to have half a can in the fridge looking for a purpose. I served the stew over mashed cauliflower. Cauliflower rice is also a good choice if you don't want to serve the stew with rice or potatoes. 

Mixing the cubed chicken with coconut flour.


Sautéing the chicken.

The vegetables are being sautéed with the chicken.

Going into the oven to cook

Ready to eat.


INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp oil
1.5 pounds chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into small chunks
2-3 tbsp coconut flour
Salt and pepper

1 onion chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 gloves garlic, minced
6 mushrooms, chopped

1 can of coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric 
Salt and pepper
2 tsp tapioca flour or corn starch
bunch of chopped parsley or cilantro


Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes


DIRECTIONS:

Dry the chicken with paper towels before cutting up the chicken breast into cubes. Mix the cubed chicken with the coconut flour in a container. Add some salt and pepper. 

Heat the oil in a medium size heavy dutch oven on high heat. Add the cubed chicken, reduce heat to medium and stir often. If the chicken is sticking to the pot, add a little bit of water and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for five minutes stirring often. Add the vegetables and stir. Cook on medium low for another five minutes. Add the coconut milk, spices, flour and herbs. I shake the can of coconut milk to make sure that the cream is dispersed and not at the top of the can before I open it. Combine well. Add a lid to the dutch oven. 

Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Check occasionally to see if the liquid is cooking down. If there is too much liquid in the stew you can take the lid off or have the pot partially covered. Serves 4 generously.   

Thursday, January 18, 2018

CHEESY BROCCOLI SOUP

With a big bag of broccoli in the fridge and wanting a change from the carrot, sweet potato and cauliflower soup that I have been eating over the past week, I decided to make a broccoli soup with some added cheese once it finished cooking. The DH has gone dairy free and we have switched over to using goat and sheep cheese and nutritional yeast. There is still a little bit of shredded parmesan cheese in the fridge (less than 1/2 cup) which I want to use up. I will use both parmesan and nutritional yeast in this soup to give it a cheesy taste. You can use shredded cheddar instead of nutritional yeast. 

Since I had a frozen package of about one cup cooked and mashed sweet potato, parsnip and rutabaga, I added this to the soup instead of the carrot and potato. Some people like to sauté the onion, celery and garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients. I was lazy and skipped doing that and just dumped everything into the pot. I use an immersion blender to puree soups. If you don't use one, a potato masher or blender are other tools which will help puree the soup. The soup turned out fine. There is a difference with not using real cheddar cheese but it still tastes good. 

To serve this soup, I added a tablespoon of shredded parmesan cheese.


INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 medium to large potato, chopped
4 to 5 cups cups of broccoli, cut into small pieces
6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or dill or thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of milk - dairy, almond, coconut or soy
1/2 cup nutritional yeast OR 2 cups of shredded cheddar


DIRECTIONS:

Into a large soup pot add of the ingredients except the milk and cheese. Cover the pot with a lid and heat on high until it boils. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for at least 45 minutes until all of the vegetables are tender. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. You can leave some small chunks of vegetables if you want. Add the milk and cheese, stir and season with more salt and pepper if required. Serves 6. 

If using a pressure cooker, cook for 15 minutes on medium pressure.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

SWEET POTATO, CARROT AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

I like to add some variety to the soups I make each week. In looking for a soup without grains or beans I decided to make this soup. The carrots and sweet potatoes add sweetness to the taste of the soup and by pureeing it, the taste is smooth. I used six cups of chicken broth and I didn't add the full cup of almond milk but used just over half a cup.  

You could add some barley (1/2 cup uncooked) or chick peas (1 to 1.5 cups cooked) to the soup if you want to bulk it up and thicken it while it cooks. Since I made it late afternoon, it wasn't served as part of supper. But I did have a sample from the ladle and it tastes just right.

Ladling out the soup from the pressure cooker.


INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, coarsely diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 glove garlic, minced
2 tsp oil
2 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled, finely chopped
3 medium to large size carrots, peeled, finely chopped
5 to 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oil in a large stock pot on medium high. Once hot, add the onion and celery, stir a few times and reduce the heat on the stove to medium. Sauté for four minutes, stir frequently and add the garlic. Stir frequently for another two minutes so that the garlic does not stick. If the vegetables are sticking, add a bit of water to the pot. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the milk. Cover the pot with a lid. Turn the heat up to high until the soup boils. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 45 to 60 minutes until the vegetables are tender. 

Using an immersion blender, purée at least half of the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can purée the soup in a blender or use a potato masher. Add the milk. Makes 8 servings.

Pressure Cooker Option
If using an electric pressure cooker, follow the same directions for sautéing the vegetables using the sauté option on the pressure cooker. Cook the soup for 15 minutes using medium pressure. Once the pressure is released from the pot, purée the soup and add the milk.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

RED LENTIL SOUP


Several weeks ago I saw this recipe for red lentil soup from the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook. I marked it and thought it would be great to make after I had enough of eating turkey soup over the Christmas season. Moosewood Restaurant has produced a number of great cookbooks and I have collected two of them so far. I made a few modifications to the original recipe. In the pantry or freezer, I have frozen tomatoes, diced tomatoes in the can and garden canned tomatoes. I decided to use a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes and I drained the juice out of the can before adding the tomatoes to the soup mixture as I thought a 28 full can would be too much.

The taste of the soup after cooking in the pressure cooker was wonderful and I look forward to consuming this over the next number of days. 

Soup cooling in the container from the electric pressure cooker.

Soup ready to eat. 


INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced 
1/2 coloured pepper, diced
1 tsp dried powdered ginger or 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander 
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes 
1 1/2 cups red lentils
6 to 7 cups water, chicken or vegetable broth

2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 
salt and pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:

Electric Pressure Cooker:

Using the sauté function, add the oil, heat it until hot and add the onion, potato and carrot. Stir every few minutes and after five minutes add the diced pepper and spices. Sauté for another three to four minutes. Turn the sauté feature off and add the water/broth, tomatoes, lentil and salt and pepper. Set the pressure cooker to cook for 15 minutes. Once the pressure is released and you can open the lid, add the cilantro and lemon juice and stir. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Makes 6 to 8 servings depending on the size of the soup bowl. If you find the soup too thick the following day in the storage container, add a bit of water. 

Stove Top:

Add the oil to a large soup pot, turn the burner to high and when hot, add the onion, potato and carrot.  Reduce heat to medium and sauté for five minutes and stir every few minutes. Add diced pepper and spices and continue to sauté for another three to four minutes. Add the water/broth, tomatoes, lentils and salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high, cover the pot with a lid until it starts to boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for an hour. Add the cilantro and lemon juice, stir and if needed, add more salt and pepper. Makes 6 to 8 servings depending on the size of the soup bowl. If you find the soup too thick the following day in the storage container, add a bit of water. 

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PECAN DATE BITES

I was never a big fan of pecan or raisin pie as I always found them to be too sweet. The Real Food Dietitians recently shared a small recipe book for holiday season baking. I saw this recipe in their book. They call them truffles but I like to call them bites as I make them small, bite size. When I think of truffles I conjure up smooth tasting ganache chocolate. What I like about this recipe is that is like pecan pie without the added sugar and pie crust. The sugar is provided by the dates. It is not overly sweet and the calories do no make me cringe. 

I made a few minor changes to the recipe. I added a cap of melted chocolate onto the top of each bite. I didn't add the extra sea salt or pecan to the top of the bite. You can drizzle the chocolate if you like. I used a mini cookie scoop and made 20 bites. I like to store them in the fridge if I am going to be eating them over several days. Otherwise I would store them in the freezer. 

The DH and I both like these bites and I think they will be popular with guests.


Used a small cookie scoop to place the Bites on  a cookie sheet.

Added a small cap of melted chocolate to the top of the Bite.
Ready to sample!


INGREDIENTS:


• 1 1⁄2 cup raw pecans
• 18
Deglet Noor dates or 9 meejool dates, pitted

1 tsp pure vanilla
• 1/8  tsp sea salt


2 tbsp dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips 
• 1⁄4 tsp coconut oil
• Optional - 
extra sea salt and/or chopped pecans for sprinkling on top


DIRECTIONS:
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  1. Place pecans, dates, vanilla and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture resembles coarse sand and sticks together when pinched between two fingers. If mixture is too dry, add a few drop of water and process again. If mixture is too sticky, add a few more pecans and process again.
  2. Roll nut mixture into 16 balls (about 1 tablespoon of mixture each). Place on a plate or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small bowl in the microwave (or set over a pan over simmering water to simulate a double boiler) - 5-10 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until glossy and smooth.
  4. Use a spoon to drizzle each bite with melted chocolate. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and chopped pecans, if desired.
Allow chocolate to harden before storing in a covered container on the counter for up to 3 days. They may also be refrigerated or frozen for longer storage. 

Makes 16 to 20 servings depending on the size of the bite. 

From the Real Food Dietitians

Sunday, December 3, 2017

PEANUT BUTTER MINI BITES

I got this recipe from a friend of mine, Bev, who is a great cook and baker. She has been making them over the years and has told me that they are really good. I needed no further encouragement and made them. I have provided a number of options in the ingredient list. I used chunky natural peanut butter, apple sweetened dried cranberries, agave syrup, roasted pumpkin seeds and regular size chocolate chips as that was what I had in my pantry. Since the holiday season is approaching, Bev uses M&M's for colour and slivered almonds when making them at this time of the year. I used agave syrup and I think honey hardens more than agave when setting in the fridge. I would use honey instead of agave next time when I make them. The peanut butter mini bites are very good, they are sweet and satisfying.



Mixing the batter.
Used a small cookie scoop to shape the bites.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup large rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut butters
1/2 cup dried blueberries, cranberries or other dried berries 
1/4 cup liquid honey or agave
2 tbsp shelled sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or slivered almonds
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Mix together all of the ingredients. Chill for at least 30 minutes until the mixture is firm. Using 2 tablespoons, roll into balls. You can reduce the size and make mini bite size pieces by using a small cookie scoop. I made 25 mini bites. If the batter doesn't harden enough, you can put it in the freezer for a few minutes. These mini bites can be stored in the fridge or freezer. I plan on storing them in the freezer. They taste good right out of the freezer.

Adapted from sticktogether.ca

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CHOPPED CHICKEN SALAD

I had made four large chicken breasts for supper - coated with almond meal and baked in a iron cast frying pan. After eating leftovers for a second night, the thought of a third supper eating this chicken was not looking appealing. Instead I decided to make chicken salad with the leftover chicken. There was about 1 1/2 chicken breasts leftover to use in a salad. I didn't want to make a chunky chicken salad but more of a finely chopped salad. Adding cabbage, apple and green onion made it appealing as the chicken salad would include several ingredients for a coleslaw. I also wanted to mix two kinds of mayonnaise including a paleo mayonnaise from Primal Kitchen that would add some zip as it is a chipotle lime flavour.

There are many other options besides making chicken salad with leftover chicken. This salad is a good alternative to the usual 'go to' recipes you might usually make. 


After mixing the salad in the bowl.



INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 leftover cooked chicken breasts, skinless
wedge of cabbage
1 apple, cored and sliced
2 green onions, diced
1/4 cup mayonnaise including plain and chipotle lime
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:

Using a food processor with a metal blade, chop the chicken into very small pieces but not so finely chopped that it becomes pureed. Spoon the chicken out of the food processor into a medium size bowl. Add the apple and cabbage to the food processor and chop into minced/finely chopped pieces. Add the minced cabbage and apple to the chopped chicken. Combine. Add the green onions, mayonnaise and lemon juice to the mixture. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Serves four.

Monday, November 13, 2017

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CARROT SOUP

Recently I bought two butternut squashes from the store that likes to sell things in large size volume ➡️ Costco. I have a few recipes for butternut squash soup and I wanted to try out the latest one I saw on a blog site from platedcravings.com. 

I made it today as part of supper and it is a wonderful soup. I added a few things to the ingredients and have provided them in the ingredient list. As I followed the directions laid out in the blog, I am providing the link to the site. The directions are really helpful as they include directions for pressure cooker, slow cooker and stove top. I made the soup using a pressure cooker. I did add a few others things to the ingredients including a carrot and some spices which I listed in the ingredient list. Both the DH and I really enjoyed this soup.




INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup butter
1 medium-large size onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium-large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1 medium to large size butternut squash (3 to 4 pounds), peeled, seeds removed and cubed
salt and pepper to taste
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp cardamon 


DIRECTIONS:

Here is the link to the directions for making this soup using several different approaches. I used an immersion blender to puree the soup. It serves about 6 depending on portion size - butternut squash and carrot soup

Sunday, October 29, 2017

APPLE CRISP PALEO STYLE

Having a number of apples in the fridge and a friend coming for supper, prompted me to bake a dessert. It was a good excuse to try making apple crisp paleo style. I looked at several cookbooks I had and adapted this recipe from one I saw in Everyday Paleo for a berry crisp. Why I made this paleo style is because this household is watching its carbs and sugar intake. I like using almond meal or almond flour in cooking and baking. What I like about this recipe is that it dresses up baked apples.

Apples in the non-stick pan.

Almond meal, coconut flour and cinnamon combined.

The egg has been added and the topping is ready to spread over the apples.

Going into the oven.

INGREDIENTS:

6 apples, cored and chopped
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 generous tbsp coconut oil (solid at room temperature)
1 tbsp cinnamon
drizzle of honey or maple syrup or Splenda (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the chopped apples into a non stick plan and spread evenly across the pan. I used a 8 X 11 inch rectangle plan. Drizzle the honey or maple syrup or sprinkle the Splenda over the apples.  

In a small bowl combine the almond meal and coconut oil. I used a small pastry blender to mix two together. Add the cinnamon. Combine using a fork or mixing spoon. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. The mixture will be crumbly and a bit doughy. 

Using your fingers or a fork, drop small pieces of batter on top of the apples so that they are evenly covered. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the crust is golden and the apples look baked.  Serves 6.